Toner (skin care)

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This article is about toner as used in skin care. For toner as used in photocopiers and laser printers, see Toner.

In cosmetics, skin toner or simply toner refers to a lotion or wash designed to cleanse the skin and shrink the appearance of pores, usually used on the face. Toners can be applied to the skin in different ways:

  • On damp cotton wool. (This is the most frequently used method.)
  • Spraying onto the face.
  • By applying a tonic gauze facial mask—a piece of gauze is covered with toner and left on the face for a few minutes.

Users often apply moisturiser after toner has dried.

Types of toners[edit]

Skin bracers or fresheners[edit]

These are the mildest form of toners; they contain water and a humectant such as glycerine, and little if any alcohol (0–10%). Humectants help to keep the moisture in the upper layers of the epidermis by preventing it from evaporating. A popular example of this is rosewater.

These toners are the gentlest to the skin, and are most suitable for use on dry, dehydrated, sensitive and normal skins. It may give a burning sensation to sensitive skin.

Skin tonics[edit]

These are slightly stronger and contain a small quantity of alcohol (up to 20%), water and a humectant ingredient. Orange flower water is an example of a skin tonic. Skin tonics are suitable for use on normal, combination, and oily skin.


These are the strongest form of toner and contain a high proportion of alcohol (20–60%), antiseptic ingredients, water, and a humectant ingredient. These are commonly recommended for oily skins as they are drying. Removal of oil from the skin does not cause overproduction of oil, as there is no structure in the skin that provides negative feedback to the oil glands that the skin has become dry and needs to compensate for the lack of moisture. To compensate for dryness, it would be recommended to use a water based, non comedogenic facial moisturizer.

External links[edit]